P is for Pop-singer

Once again I have picked a theme for the A to Z Challenge. This time I aim to entertain rather than to educate. My theme is careers or occupations. I begin with a piece of creative writing.

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Poppy and Paul are Pop-singers. They picked The Prunes as their band-name. Perhaps that was not a good choice. They always thought pop-singing would be a plum job, but their plans could wither on the vine – or the plum tree. Perhaps if they had practised the piano and percussion they might have made better progress in their chosen profession. Practise makes perfect, but aspiring pop-singers should not be in too much of a rush to leave paid employment for what might be a precarious existence. This is from the perspective of pessimistic pairs of parents. Perhaps a pleasant surprise is a prospect.

Further reading: Pop music

Pop songs are often remembered more for the tunes than for the words. The words of songs of praise, lament, and even complaint against God have lasted for thousands of years. The Book of Psalms, sometimes known as the Psalms of David (although others wrote many of them) is a great resource for study and prayer. I recently tweeted about each of the 150 Psalms; then I took a break from reading a psalm or part of a psalm each day. I missed the psalms after a few weeks and began to include them in my daily quiet time once more. (I first began to read them regularly five or six years ago.) #psalmtweets


The effect of our decisions on the environment

This post is a bit of a rant. Holy Week is a time for serious thought! I wondered what to write about this week, for publication on Maundy Thursday.

The Blogging from A to Z in April Challenge is about to begin. I haven’t finished reading any books, so a What I read post is not possible. So here is something I feel strongly about. The size of the problem is overwhelming. However if everyone did a little to reduce their use of plastic and synthetic materials, it would make a significant difference.

I have taken part in two organised beach cleans in the past few months and picked up litter on other occasions, putting plastic bottles and drinks cans in recycling skips. It is well-known that litter finds its way through inland waterways to the oceans.

There is a huge campaign against litter, plastic and other forms of pollution, which are damaging wildlife, especially marine life. The proliferation of hashtags relating to these issues bears witness to its reach on social media. Here are a few:-

#Plastic, #PlasticFree, #PlasticPollution, #BanPlastic, #PlasticKills, #PlasticFreeCoastlines, #2MinuteBeachClean, #StopThePlasticTide, #SurfersAgainstSewage

What I really want to highlight in this post is how our decisions regarding items we buy can also affect the environment. Much clothing is manufactured from synthetic (similar to plastic) material. It is interesting that plastic items may be recycled as polyester fleeces, for example. Not enough recycling takes place. In any case, we are warned that washing polyester clothing results in microplastics being released into our waterways.

Natural fibres are more friendly to the environment. Bamboo is a relatively new source of fibre for clothing and as a replacement for plastic drinking cups. Wool, cotton and silk are more traditional natural fibres, at least in the UK.

Consumers have rights, protected by law. For example, if goods are faulty they may be returned to the retailer for a refund. I wonder what the retailer does with the faulty goods. It is not cost-effective to repair a seam, which has not been stitched during manufacture, for instance. I suspect the goods are either sent for recycling or binned, ending up on land-fill sites.

It might be better for the environment to waive the right for a refund and repair the faulty item oneself. Of course there are many considerations. Safety may be an issue sometimes, but not in the case of finishing off an unfinished garment.

How do you react to the pollution problem? Have you changed your habits since this became such a high profile issue?


Posting daily to social media – pros and cons

Dave Walker, a cartoonist I follow on Twitter asked creative types about their experiences of posting daily. I replied briefly, but commented that it might merit a blog post. So here it is!

My most recent spell of daily posting was 150 days of #psalmtweets. Yes, there are 150 Psalms in the Old Testament.   The challenge was to post something inspired by each of them. I don’t like to risk failure in a project of this kind. With a project lasting for several months there are likely to be times, when I am away from home or otherwise less likely to be able to access the internet. For this reason (and because I had already finished reading the psalms as part of my daily quiet time) I began about a week in advance. I scheduled my Tweets using Tweetdeck. Cunningly, I did not schedule them for precisely the same time each day. My tweets are also available in a series of posts on this blog.

My next spell of nearly daily blogging will be in April for the Blogging from A to Z in April Challenge. I began thinking about this in January. I have already prepared some posts. The first week requires daily posting beginning on Easter Sunday (1 April). Subsequent weeks demand six posts a week. The whole project results in a total of 26 letter posts plus one in March for the Theme Reveal and one in May for the Reflections on the Challenge.

I have taken part in this before. The first time I only discovered it in the last week of March if my memory serves me correctly. I began writing my posts and publishing them on the appropriate days. Then I found my stride and did some planning. By the end I was ahead of the game. The following year I knew I was going to be away for a week in April. I didn’t have any way of accessing the internet away from home at that time, so I planned ahead and scheduled the required posts. Any comments would have to wait for replies.

I began planning before Christmas 2015 for April 2016 and managed to post an alphabetical rhyme on Sue’s Trifles as well as a series about flowers and plants on Sue’s Words and Pictures.

Other spells of daily blogging have included Blog Every Day in November and responding to the WordPress writing prompts from the Daily Post

There are only so many hours in a day and even if a writer gets up early and writes before breakfast (as I often have since starting to blog) other things tend to be neglected as energy and enthusiasm are used up.

Too many posts may overwhelm even the most loyal of followers. While I was considering writing this post WordPress published a link on Twitter to one on this topic.

So I know it is possible to post daily, but it is time consuming, especially, when you add in the extra time required to personalise sharing to Twitter, Facebook and Google+. Having a scheme for posting to Twitter is an ideal I only dream about at present. The most effective interactions are joining in with interesting conversations and making a few genuine Twitter friends. For an example of how to use Twitter to the best effect, check out the author, Robert Macfarlane.